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Flight Centre - Corporate Traveller - logoIn a remarkable surge, corporate travel bookings to Paris for the 2024 Olympic Games have skyrocketed by 123%, with projections indicating this growth could reach 200%. This trend, driven by Australian businesses, underscores the immense appeal and networking opportunities the Games offer despite rising travel costs.

Flight Centre’s Data Shows Unprecedented Growth

Corporate Traveller, the premier SME division of Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG), has released data revealing a dramatic increase in flight bookings from Australia to Paris between July 22 and August 12, 2024. This 123% spike compared to the same period last year highlights the strong pull of the Olympic Games on the business sector. With bookings continuing to rise, Corporate Traveller anticipates an eventual 200% growth in travel to Paris during the Games.

Tom Walley, the Australia-based Global Managing Director for FCTG’s Corporate Traveller, emphasized the significance of these figures. “For corporates, the Games are one of the globe’s best networking opportunities, enabling thousands of businesses to come together and foster key connections and partnerships. Our high corporate flight bookings suggest a pent-up demand among foreign audiences, especially after the Tokyo Games were held with virtually no spectators due to the pandemic.”

Blending Business and Leisure Travel

The data also reveals a growing trend among Australian travellers to combine business and leisure travel—known as ‘bleisure’. This trend is evident in the surge of bookings to Paris and the increased interest in Rome. Flight bookings from Australia to Rome are up 16% year-on-year for the same period, indicating that many business travellers plan to extend their trips to include leisure activities in other European destinations.

Accor, one of the leading hotel groups preparing for the influx, reports that 71% of its rooms in the Games’ host cities, including Paris, are already booked. They expect occupancy to reach 85% during the event. With 650 hotels across France, many located in cities hosting Olympic events, Accor is well-positioned to accommodate the surge in demand.

Economic Impact and Future Prospects

The Paris 2024 Olympics are projected to generate between €6.7 and €11.1 billion (AUD 10.86 and $18 billion) in net economic benefits for the region. An estimated 10,500 athletes will compete in 329 events, drawing more than 15 million tourists. This significant influx contrasts sharply with the 2020 Tokyo Games, held under heavy COVID-19 restrictions and largely without spectators.

The Brisbane 2032 Olympics are forecast to deliver substantial economic benefits, with $8.1 billion projected for Queensland and $17.61 billion across Australia. Walley noted that Australian businesses are likely leveraging the Paris Games to build a robust network in anticipation of Brisbane hosting the Olympics in eight years.

The Value of ‘Bleisure’ Travel

Despite the escalating business costs, Australians increasingly see the value in ‘bleisure’ travel. Walley pointed out that Australian business travellers spend nearly double the global average of nights away on work trips. This trend reflects a broader shift towards combining professional commitments with personal enjoyment, enhancing travel experience.

“The fact that Corporate Traveller has already seen a 123% hike in bookings for the Paris Games period amid an economic pinch also shows Australian businesses see the value in attending and investing in major events such as these,” Walley said. “And with booking demand remaining high, we expect our final figures around the two key weeks of the Games to double the year-on-year average.”

Another factor contributing to the booking surge is the growing trend of corporate hospitality around major sporting events. Australian businesses recognize these events’ networking and client engagement potential, making them a strategic investment despite higher costs.

In conclusion, the 2024 Paris Olympic Games are set to be a pivotal event for corporate travel, with Australian businesses leading the charge. The remarkable booking increase underscores the Games’ significance as a prime opportunity for networking, growth, and the fusion of business with leisure travel.

For more information on corporate travel trends and bookings, visit Flight Centre’s Corporate Traveller.




Written by: My Thanh Pham